My next featured artisan is Noma Fowler-Sandlin.
Food can be art and in my opinion, the kind of creativity and preserverance Noma puts into her preserves qualifies. Spiced fig, orange blossom jelly, drunken peach (with cognac), red onion, triple ginger, and chai tea jelly are NOT things you find on the supermarket shelf.
These aren't just unusual; they are practical for food pairings. As Noma says, "I serve cheese with jam. We even make grilled cheese sandwiches with it. My husband likes Red Onion or Hell Belly and cheddar. I like the Spiced Fig and goat cheese. A local chef makes a foie gras, peanut butter and jelly sandwich using my Pomegranate Jelly. The Triple Ginger is great with anything you’d eat Plum Sauce on. It rocks an eggroll."
I can also imagine stirring the rose jelly into tea for a delicate flavor-- many teas are scented with flower petals, this would give you the flavor when you wanted it. Triple ginger would be wonderful medicinally, too-- ginger soothes stomach upset.
Noma got her start in her early teens. Her parents had a farm, and trees don't put out the same amount every year. With a surplus of peaches, they needed to find an outlet and she created a peach jam that won an award at the county fair. When asked what she likes to make best out of her recipes, she explained, "I am a moody creature, so I like making different ones at different times. The Eros Jelly is really difficult because I have to handle very thin sheets of edible gold leaf. It's ephemeral stuff -- floats around the kitchen and gets all over everything, me, included. It's challenging. But sometimes, I don't feel like being challenged. At those times, I prefer the simple ones." The alcohol that goes into drunken peach creates a sort of controlled explosion-- so it sounds like it ranks up with Eros Jelly for trickiness.
She is working on the idea of a cookbook or pamphlet based on her creations and their uses. This one sounds very good to me:
Red Onion Jam Pizza -- Throw out the marinara and add Red Onion Jam instead. Then top it with roasted eggplant (or sauteed onions or any other veg), then cover it with goat cheese crumbles, bacon (or roasted walnuts or pecans if you're vegetarian) and capers.